Neighbors point fingers over pit bull attack - Fox 28: South Bend, Elkhart IN News, Weather, Sports

Neighbors point fingers over pit bull attack

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A four year old Elkhart girl continues to recover at an Indianapolis hospital, after her nose was bitten off by a pit bull. Four year old Demonica Paul was playing with friends in her Elkhart neighborhood Thursday, when she was attacked.

The girls father spoke to Fox28 Monday, but declined to go on camera. He says Damonica is in good condition. However, her entire nose was detached from her face. He says that means she will have to go through reconstructive surgery over the next two to four weeks. Doctors tell the family it will takes two years for Damonica to fully heal.

The attack is prompting a massive debate between neighbors and police as to what really happened.

One dog has been taken to the pound, but neighbors still disagree over who is responsible.

Leslie Miller says it's been five months since her son was attacked by his friend's pit bull. Sixteen year old Jarvis Miller says he was taking a friend home, when their pit bull ran out of the front door and bit him in the arm. A police report was made against the dog's owner. Leslie says she hasn't heard from the dog's owner, until watching our newscast Saturday night. Leslie says the dog that's being held for biting four year Damonica Paul, is the same dog that bit her son.

"The only reason I wanted to say anything, was because this dog has bit before. I think maybe if the parents of the girl would have known, maybe they would have been more cautious about letting their child play there," says Miller.

"If those people are accusing my dog, they should have made a report or done something when they said it happened," says Tracy Crisler. She says police did not contact her when the report was made and she is unaware of any reports against her dog, Sierra. She says her dog is not to blame for either incident.

"She's an excellent dog and I don't see her ever being able to fight a child," says Shannon Johns, Crisler's sister. Johns says Sierra plays with her kids and has no history of violence.

The Crislers insist that it was their neighbor's dog that attacked four-year-old Damonica Paul. We spoke with Crisler's neighbors on Saturday. They denied their dog was involved, simply because it can't jump this fence. Crisler's family says the neighbor's dog was taken to the pound Monday evening to be investigated. Elkhart police would not confirm that information Monday night.

"There's a lot of finger pointing," says Miller. She says more needs to be done to get aggressive dogs out of the neighborhood.

Meanwhile, police say their investigation continues. They're waiting to hear back from animal control to determine if Sierra, the Crisler's dog, is considered dangerous. If she is, Sierra could be euthanized next week.

Police say they don't know why animal control did not take action against the Crisler's dog after the first report.

"After the first time it bit someone, it should have been brought up and questioned as far as being deemed a dangerous dog, " says Sgt. Laura Koch, Elkhart Police Department.

Police say this time of year, it's especially important for parents to keep an eye on their children when dogs are loose in the neighborhood.

If you spot a wild or loose dog in your neighborhood, call animal control at 295-7070.

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